The Scriptorium- Recipe for A Story- a poem written and recorded on zoom

Throughout Feb and March 2021, I ran a 7 week creative writing course called "The Scriptorium" with a great bunch of people. We explored, wrote about, and considered many themes : secrets and lies, weddings and funerals, myths and monsters, war and peace, eccentrics and misfits, wild and tame. Our last session was inspired by the literary Salons of the 16th and 17th centuries. Each member of The Scriptorium received a box of curious items and ephemera, a "wunderkammer-through-the-post", and we wrote inspired by the objects contained within. We created daft aristocratic names and each wore golden crowns. Right at the end, we co-created a poem called "Recipe for A Story" for a bit of fun. This is it- hope you enjoy.

Many thanks to Debra McGee and Revelation Ashford who made The Scriptorium possible. 

If you would be interested in future creative writing courses, please get in touch by email bernadette@thewhiterabbit.org.uk

More soon 

Love Bernadette

AKA Lady Indigo Jerningham-Mitzi

How To Be Hopeful Episode 38- “Citizens of The World- a choir of hope”

This week I am delight to be chatting with Becky Dell of the Citizens of The World Choir, a beautiful and talented musical community composed of refugees, their friends and neighbours. With over 28 countries represented, the choir sings songs and celebrate cultures from all over the world- a joyous, positive and hopeful experience for all. Becky says they exist to "help healing through the power of music, to help community integration because  we’re composed of  half refugees and half non refugees…. but also to  elevate the story of refugees and migrants and the important the contribution they make to our society”

She goes on to say "the choir has fundamentally changed everyone involved lives for the better...  even in the darkest moment of your life look to see how you can turn the situation around .. dig deep and find hope….”  

I hope you enjoy listening to our chat- you can support and connect with the choir here http://www.citizensoftheworldchoir.org/

You can find me on twitter @betterussell

IG @bernadetterussell

and you can find my book How To Be Hopeful at all the usual places

I hope the recent hopeful announcements regarding lockdown, and the lighter days have lifted your spirits too. Hang on in there lovelies, brighter days are coming

Love Bernadette 

How To Be Hopeful Episode 37- “Hope, art, fashion and the joy of dressing up”

I was delighted to have a chat with the  performance and video artist Paula Varjack this week- we discussed many things including her journey, her inspirations, and where she finds  and maintains hope for herself. We chatted about her wonderful "Manifesto for Artists in A Crumbling Arts Economy"- a fantastic artwork which developed from "Show Me The Money" her "playful investigation" of how artists survive and make a living in an austerity blighted landscape. We spoke about her show "The Cult of Kenzo" about her frustrated relationship to high fashion, and from there to the joy to be found in dressing up. We also discussed her recent art work "Coming Out To My Father". She is a hopeful, inspiring, brilliant and bold artist- I hope you enjoy listening to our chat- you can find out more about Paula here: 


Subscribe to her mailing list here

Check out her piece "The Ultimate Residency" here 
Explore "Mourning with Florals" on instagram here 
Buy her brilliant "Manifesto for Artists in A Crumbling Arts Economy" here
And if you enjoyed the taster of the track at the end of the podcast, you can find the rest of it here


Many thanks as always for listening, this podcast is to accompany my book of the same name, available from all the usual places, but if you are able I would love you to support independent bookshops and buy it from https://uk.bookshop.org/

Please subscribe and share, back soon with more hope!

Love Bernadette xx





How To Be Hopeful Episode 36- “Motherhood and Hope”

This week I speak with the wonderful Maggie Gordon Walker : actor, writer and director of all kinds of creative projects, and founder of Mothers Uncovered- a creative support network for mums. We speak about many things including the meaning and importance of knowing and sharing words that help us understand how we feel and who we are. Such a word is MATRESCENCE- a  word used to describe "the physical, psychological, and emotional changes people go through during the monumental transformation that is motherhood." (definition found here )

We speak about the community she created, and how they came together to find "joyous and defiant hope" - also about the book she wrote "The Secret Life of Mothers"  (a collection of the stories and lived experiences of mothers she connected with through her work) 

We also discuss the power and fun of having an alter-ego, Maggie's ideas of utopia, and Universal Basic Income. We got interrupted by her cat. We had technical hitches. We had a great chat.

You can connect with Maggie here:


and here


and you can buy her book "The Secret Life of Mothers" directly from her publisher here:


Thanks for listening, this podcast is to accompany my book of the same name, published September 2020 by Elliot and Thompson. You can buy it in all the usual places but it would be brilliant if  you could support indy bookshops and order it from here 


Much love and more hope soon


Bernadette x

“All The Things We Love”- a community spoken word piece created with the Southbank Centre

During 2020, the Southbank Centre in London produced a series of Art by Post booklets, designed by artists and inspired by their art collection and artistic programme . The activities were designed for adults living with one or more long-term health conditions, who through Covid-19 restrictions are at further risk of isolation. They were especially interested in giving people living with dementia, and their supporters, access to creative resources.

2,000 people across the UK took part in Art by Post creative activities from their homes, from Aberdeen to Truro and Bangor to Dover. 

I was lucky enough to be one of those artists, and my booklet was called "Journey to A Town Called Hope"- containing exercises to focus on our hopes, dreams and wishes for the future, which felt really important at this difficult time. 

This podcast was recorded on zoom with a group of people who had taken part in Art By Post. We thought about everything we loved about lockdown;despite its hardships, and what we missed too. It was massive fun and incredibly moving. Hope you enjoy it 

More hope soon!

Love Bernadette x


How To Be Hopeful Episode 35 “May The Force Be With You- how sci-fi can give us hope”

How do we find hope in these dark times?

Can sci-fi help us find a brighter future?

For this, the first podcast of 2021, I was delighted to chat with sci-fi writer Paul L Arvidson about hope, utopias, dystopias, Iain M. Banks, Ursula K. Le Guin, Joanna Russ, wierd British TV sci- fi, feminist and queer sci-fi, and the importance of us continuing to caring for each other

This podcast is to accompany my book of the same name which came out in September 2020 and is available in all the usual places you can buy books, but I'd love it if you supported indy bookshops and bought it here

Pauls brilliant sci-fi trilogy Dark can be found via his website www.paularvidson.co.uk

 Thanks and more soon






How To Be Hopeful Episode 34 “The Bank Job- hope, joy, resilience and debt”

In this week' podcast I have the great pleasure of chatting with the team behind The Bank Job" documentary "a feature film and art project pushing for a national debt writeoff as part of a reset for a fairer economic system" 

The seed of this fantastic project began with a conversation between co-creators Dan Edelstyn and Hilary Powell and their neighbour who had heard about "Strike Debt" in the U.S- a movement that was abolishing debt by hacking into the secondary debt market. This conversation came at a time when Dan "was looking for the answer to the question- why am I making films?..... this is the central quest of the bank job... to find a useful thing to do"

We chat about the power and hope to be found in collective debt refusal; and the idea of debt unions, of Dan and Hilary's struggle and journey to find a way to tell the story after their economic awakening when a "whole new world of knowledge" opened up before them.They developed the idea of a "community heist" in their local area of Walthamstow in London, and set about printing and selling their own money as artworks to raise funds. The sales enabled them to purchase and write off the debt of 450 local people; as well as donate to their chosen local charities.They also blew up the debt by exploding a van outside the towers of finance in the City of London. 

We speak about what they hope for " there is a better way of organising society... we urgently need to change and to innovate the systems we live under... we want to look after each other and the world, and pass on something viable to our children" 

Dan says his best tip is to "librate yourself with knowledge" so with this in mind, please join me to watch the preview of the film "The Bank Job" on 11th December 2020 from 7pm here to learn more:


Some books Hilary and Dan recommended are: 

"Debt The First 5000 years" by David Graeber

"Creditocracy and the case for debt refusal" by Andrew Ross

and check out the Jublilee Debt Campaign - a UK charity working to end poverty caused by unjust debt through education, research and campaigning


Thanks so much for listening- more next week! 

Love Bernadette


insta @bernadetterussell




How To Be Hopeful Episode 33 “Hope & Renewable Energy”

This week's podcast is with Nadia Smith, Sustainable Futures Project Manager from South East London Community Energy to talk hope and renewable energy. 

Nadia speaks about  the hope and inspiration she finds in the Dream Renewables project in Dzita, Ghana, and Bright, a young man who has designed a solar system for his primary school after taking part in a renewable energy course.

Her story began when she started noticing the wind turbines whilst at school in Egypt, to getting involved with Engineering Without Borders whilst at University, to working with  SELCE, an organisation based in Lewisham where Nadia was born.

We speak about SELCE's origins: the co-operative was formed in February 2014 by a group of people living in Greenwich and Lewisham. They were strongly aware of the need to tackle climate change and move to low carbon energy.Their aims and ambitions include: installing solar panels on the roofs of schools, churches and community centres throughout SE London, proving cheap and sustainable energy for the community. SELCE also provide a fuel  poverty advice service, giving local people advice on tariffs and energy suppliers. They have recently launched a free online and telephone advice sessions for vulnerable people.

Nadia explains the model of funding the project via selling community shares, and how "people bought shares as Christmas presents... a lot of people invest in us because they think it is the right thing to do.... they are investing in their children's future" 

When the panels are installed on school roofs, the bills are halved but also "the school can show kids what renewable energy looks like" 

The great news is, even if you aren't based in Lewisham, there are community energy groups throughout the UK (and the world)- so its easy to get involved. Community energy groups in England can be found here 

You can find out more about SELCE here

or twitter @SELonCommEnergy 

This podcast is to accompany my book of the same name, which was published in September 2020 and is available all the usual places, but I'd love it if you went here to support independent bookshops 

Thanks so much for listening- more soon!

Love Bernadette 


twitter @betterussell

instagram @bernadetterussell



How To Be Hopeful Episode 32 “A few pounds, big dreams and a lot of hope”

This week I speak about many things including hope, storytelling, free food  and time travel with award-winning British artist, producer and presenter Dawinder Bansal who shares her incredible stories via film and immersive art installations.. 

Dawinder and I chat about her experience of growing up in Wolverhampton in the 80s - being the "youngest daughter of twice immigrant parents"- a time which was "carefree... a brilliant time to be growing up". whilst she was immersed and supported by a tight knit community and her parents Sikh culture. 

She created her wonderful installation and film "Jambo Cinema" as a dedication to her parents "for their sacrifice... and that generation who came here... with a few pounds... and a lot of hope" and she speaks beautifully about the importance of stories "we listen, we tell our stories... we come to understand each other via stories, " 

Dawinder also speaks about her latest project "We Found Love in the 80s" and the encouragement she received from  Martin Ware (of Heaven 17 and Human League fame) to make the project , celebrating love- there is still a chance to get involved with this if you have a story to tell about love you found in the 80s!

To find out more about Dawinder and her amazing projects please go here: https://www.dawinderbansal.com 

To find out more about "We Found Love in the 80s" go here: https://www.wefoundloveinthe80s.com 

Dawinder can also be found on that twitter


Thanks so much for listening as always. This podcast is to accompany my book of the same name, which came out 10th September 2020 and is available in all the usual places

You can find me www.bernadetterussell.com

twitter @betterussell

instagram @bernadetterussell

Much love and more soon

Bernadette x

How To Be Hopeful episode 31 “The Eternal Hope of Science”

This week I speak with Dr Dominic Galliano, physicist and Head of Public Engagement with Research & Teaching at University College London.

Dr Dom tells the incredible story of his journey as a boy from a working class background in Gibraltar who was endlessly curious, to being one of the many incredible scientists across the world striving to democratise science education. Dr Dom managed to get the necessary funding together to begin his  MA “Quantum Fields and Fundamental Forces” – he speaks movingly of his perseverance, determination and resilience and also of his “angels” : family members, teacher and friends who helped get him there.

Dr Dom then began his PHD in Portsmouth, along with other mathematicians and cosmologists as they investigated “the start of the universe”. Dom realised that the department was disconnected from the community it was in the midst of, and his work since has been committed to encouraging curiosity in all of us, as he says “science is driven by trying to solve a problem that the world has... This is  where hope lies. and to do this we need diversity in all forms to find solutions that are more robust”

We discuss the importance of challenging the prevailing narrative of a scientist being “a lonely man who isn’t human” – and that hope lies too in this year’s Nobel Prize winners, Andrea Ghez was one of three scientists who was  awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics for her work on the study of black holes and the discovery of a supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy, and Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna  were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry  for discovering genetic scissors-used to change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision. (This technology has revolutionised the molecular life sciences, brought new opportunities for plant breeding, is contributing to innovative cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true.)

We chat about the “eternal hope” which lie in the potential  of nuclear fusion and the wonder in the fact that  “most of the universe is still unknown to us” , as well as  utopia and Dr Doms hope that the future includes “new systems  which everyone can benefit from”

You can find Dr Dom on twitter @EngagementDom

And find out more about public engagement at University College London here 

And this year’s public engagement award winners here 

My book How To Be Hopeful is out NOW! and can be found in all the usual places

More soon!

Love Bernadette x

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